hardware and software for electronic music 

thetechnobear's Recent Posts

Sun, Mar 22, 2015, 06:07

hmm, interesting, I can see this behaviour too.
CCs are ignored until the first note comes in...

odd, it looked like an optimisation on Lives part.... but Kaivo doesnt have the same behaviour,
... so either the plugin is telling Live not to send until first note, or aalto is not responding to the CC or flashing the mod light.

Sat, Mar 21, 2015, 06:31

@antolyi/randy, just tried here with Mac/1.6.1 vst/Live9 (also N4) ... and works as expected.

I tried first with default MW, ok - then changed CC# to 10, and checked Mod worked on 10, Mod+1 on 11 , both seemed fine.

perhaps a Windows or host (daw) related issue? which daw? does the mod input flash?

Sat, Mar 21, 2015, 05:55

Im out of my depth here...so may be talking nonsense :)

UK/US, I assume your referring to mains hum, and the difference between europe using 50hz vs US 60hz... and I guess that implies different carrier frequencies are suitable for europe? Im assuming you have to be careful of harmonics of these frequencies too?

Q. what are the frequencies used by the SP? 
Q. are the choices of carriers 'hardwired' in the SP, or could we potentially have different choices in europe?

off gird, I was referring to the fact some mains supply cans be pretty 'dirty', with pretty big voltage changes (dips and peaks) as demand alters... and was wondering if this also might induce different RF interferences (and so implicitly change which carrier signals are better)

but as I live in the mountains and don't have mains, I don't have this issue. my solar system has very stable voltage (+/-0.2v variation according to my metrics, which is tiny compared to mains swings which can typically be +/-5v, and at times by much more than that).

Ive read these voltage changes, can make equipment operate differently (sub optimal), but again... Im only going on what Ive read rather than seen any real evidence of it.. not sure if it affects the 'hum' of not.

(the reference to inverters... these, as you possibly know, take my 48v DC to 230v AC, but not all inverters are 'equal', in terms of voltage/cycle variations and some don't even put out perfect sine cycles... so this is something I was very careful of, when designing my system, as well as ensuring I have good earthing, and no ground-loops :))

saying all this, I've not finished building yet, so I'm in a temporary studio, which has a lack of plug sockets, so quite possible the huge number of power strips I have could be far from ideal :)

Fri, Mar 20, 2015, 10:27

hmmm interesting...

noise results are:

so carrier 2 is selected.. which I'm 'fairly' sure is always the one selected.

But whats interesting is I'm pretty sure, there used to be 2 (carried 1 and 2) that were around the same 0.004 level, sometimes it would choose one, others time the other.

now 2 things have changed....

a) Ive moved my gear around a bit, due to getting a new mixer in the studio.

b) Ive put a new (powered MTT ) usb hub in place,

I just noticed, if I plug directly into the mac, that carrier 1, goes back down to 0.0048 levels, from 0.00758 ... so I'm wondering if the new hub is creating a bit more 'noise'.
(the usb cable is, I think, the one supplied, and has a ferrite block on it)

so... a couple of questions...

is there anything i can do, to ensure noise is not an issue, or reduce it?
is there anything I should avoid? ( my SP usually is played in from of the mac)

also, next time I see, the issue, I will do a carrier scan, and see what its says, e.g. has the noise gone up.
(when the issue has occurred, Im pretty sure I've not been doing anything to USB devices, or turning any other devices on ... and my power supply is pretty clean, as I'm off-grid running off of solar power with good quality inverters :))

EDIT: actually scrub the 'new hub' theory, just did a few more scans, and even in the new hub its sometimes at 0.004 levels, seems carrier 1 is a bit 'random' on its noise levels.

Fri, Mar 20, 2015, 10:06

@mtvic, Live 9.1.7 + Aalto AU 1.6.1 + OSX 10.9.5 works for me :)
sorry not much help ... might be work rescanning/reinstalling?

Thu, Mar 19, 2015, 14:46

thanks.... Im pretty sure I was using 1.1.2 before but I guess same place modified url :)

yeah the ghost touches are odd... they occur in a couple of forms...
a) a random touch, quite far away from where other real touches are... i think these tend to be on on the bottom row
b) if play a tri chord, I get 4 or 5 touches (i.e. 2 extra) quite close to the other 3,

(a) is a pain, as the touch tends to persist, until I hit the recalibrate button (pg 2)
also, If i turn up the view scale, it does indeed look like the SP has a touch in that region.
and it also seems commonly in the same place ... bottom row around column 6 (approx)
but it just suddenly starts... I've not placed a touch close to there, and it might start after 5 mins or 30mins!

(b) bit different, but again fine for quite some time of playing, and then suddenly will start glitching, not all the time, but once its starts seems to be more likely to reoccur.

the above are just 'impressions' rather any serious quantifying/testing... but definitely didn't occur in 1.1.2 (which is I'm pretty sure what I was using before)

I did have a try with the reducing template (its about .300) but didn't appear to help, but will try more 'rigoursly' :) threshold Ive got at the default 0.010, but will try to increase.
(I'll look at the ghost touch pressure value a bit close next time, I assume I can use that to tune thresh)

BTW: an idea for you.
I really like the 'pressure value' display on the grid,
I was wondering if we could have something similar for a musical context....

Im trying to get better with quantise OFF, and I'm ok with single touches, as i can tune to a 'backing track'.

BUT when Im doing multiple touches its very difficult, the issue is, I can hear one of the notes is OFF, but its hard to determine which one...

so I was wondering, if we could display a 'tuning' offset for each touch,
this would be a useful training aid, as I could see which note was off, and tune it by ear.

there could be other representations ... e.g. the touch colour could be different for sharp/flat/in-tune.... this would be cool, as very quick to see.

(Im guess not really interested in how much Im out, just which touch and in which direction, just a clue... to then let my ears do the real work :) )

will get back to about the ghost touches, if I can determine anything more concrete to help.


Thu, Mar 19, 2015, 14:10

Is there somewhere I can get the previous version from? (I stupidly overwrote it)

Im getting some issues with 'ghost' touches that I didn't get on the previous version, and I need to 'perform' with the soundplane in a couple of weeks, so much as I prefer the new version ... I cannot risk the ghosts touches :(

also, when I go back, will I have to recalibrate?

(It would be nice I think to have a separate app state for each version, in case you need to rollback/ or use different versions for testing)


Mon, Mar 16, 2015, 11:49

nice release, already improves touches on the edges for me, and I like the new pressure display. I've emailed you a couple of minor issues, but overall feels really good.

looking forward to seeing and hearing more about the new generation touch tracking :)

my #1 requests would be improved handling of tri-chords, which can be a little hit/miss... but a tough challenge I'm sure, given the 3 notes are quite close.
( though >1 cell apart)


Mon, Mar 02, 2015, 02:04

When you log in to the this site, top right you will see a link "my downloads"
(Underneath your login name, my account etc)

Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 05:05

apart from this project is going to involve me going down the modular rabbit hole, I'm really excited by it :)

a couple of thoughts

  • iPad/Bluetooth
    this discussion scares me, Id get a modular to get away from computers, Im not keen on integrating them... am I the odd one out on this?

  • KISS,
    Id really love it to be simple, and do one job really well, direct connection of the soundplane. Im sure the architecture will be open to expansion anyway, so no need to over complicate at the beginning? keep it simple ... conquer the world later.

In this vain, Id have thought something like:

  • micro controller with limited storage (need for SP touch tracking software - no?)

  • upgradeable firmware via USB, and also allow upload of small files (e.g scales/zones), or possibly this could be done via micro SD, but not sure a slot in a non-clean environment is good option, also adds cost.

  • open source firmware

  • 8 CV out, default assigned to 2x X/Y/Z/Gate BUT by assignable to whatever via firmware (so future firmware could have zones which use as 8 faders)

  • 2 endless encode with small readout to show values, addressable via firmware (example use might be to change scales/zone mapping)

  • 2 CV in (by default, drive the endless encode values)

  • expansion connector to allow for additional banks of CV outs etc.

Note: Number of CV outs/in I guess this will be driven by cost, and keeping the module 'affordable', which was stated as the goal.

with this kind of model the initial firmware could be very simple (and rock solid!), but could could easily be extended to cover different zone mappings/scales, or other imaginable uses.

open sourcing the firmware, could help relieve some of the pressure on ML.
ML is really creative and is always coming up with fantastic ideas and products, so Im sure we (users) have to be realistic about how much effort can be put into this project (without letting other ML projects suffer)

Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 11:36

awesome stuff... OSC and automation working great here... thanks!

Tue, Feb 24, 2015, 07:34

ok uploaded here Cantor Digitalis Max Patch

this actually combined with changes also made for a haken continuum
(don't worry there is no mention of SP, as it needs no UI, it just works )

to use, download CD from their website, then copy this patch into the _MainPrograms directly and start it from Max.

you will need the CNMAT packages for OSC-route, since i use those (would be easy to avoid this, but I often use them so didnt think not to this time around :))

then run the SP app in OSC mode, and use the chromatic zone, without quantisation, (as cantor digitalis has its own.)

first 6 columns have vowel space, rest is playing area.

oh cantor digitalis set manual tuning to -14 -3, no link... this will ensure correct tuning for voices.


Wed, Feb 18, 2015, 10:14

Cantor Digitalis on a Soundplane (vocal synthesis)

Ive 'ported' this to the Soundplane, as its really fun, you can get some amazing voice sounds, with vowel control on one x/y grid, and pitch/effort and larynx on another.

Cantor Digitalis on a Soundplane

go check out their website (in YT description) for some examples of what skilled players can do with it, very impressive stuff.

Sun, Feb 22, 2015, 10:27

If your interested I could post the patch…

(Im not sure if max patches can be posted here, as the forum does some weird formatting)

I use OSC, put the soundplane into chromatic zone (so I get full x/y/z), then Ive edited the main control patch to send the relevant max messages based on the tch messages. If your familiar with max its simple enough.

as I say, though I can post the patch if your interested/prefer

Fri, Feb 20, 2015, 08:52

any news on a 1.6.1, which fixes the OSC and automation?

Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 10:37

@jue, interesting its working for me with N4Pro (b149), osx 10.9.5 , i.e. I can see aalto and load it within N4, and also save it as part of a stack etc.
though it doesnt appear to want to load the presets from the N4 folders, I guess as these are the .aupresets - this is why I asked Randy, if perhaps I can delete that folder, so it doesnt confuse.

Sat, Feb 14, 2015, 16:10

Is automation working?
Ive tried in both Live 9.1.7/Mac 10.9 (au and vst) and Bitwig 1.1, and it doesnt seem to be working for me.
I think I'm doing everything correctly, as it works with Kaivo (and others) and also if I reinstall Aalto 1.5 it works there too.
(in Live the curve goes dark red, but i don't know what that means, I guess its having a problem)
note: the automation initially appears to work, i.e. curve gets drawn, dial moves, but as soon as it loops/playbacks it turns dark red and doesn't do anything. I have the same issue if I just draw the automation in.

edit: works ok in Logic 10.1

Sat, Feb 14, 2015, 08:20

ooooohhh... Ive been avoiding modulars, but this might tip me over the edge :)
id echo @drart comments, id really love a box to allow my SP to be computer free, perhaps a separate CV + midi box might widen the appear to other analog (and non analog) synths.

Sat, Feb 14, 2015, 07:28

Ive found if you prefix your bank name with Aalto or Kaivo, it considers it to be a factory bank, if its anything else its not.

@Randy, can I now delete ~/Library/Audio/Presets/Madrona Labs ?
i.e its not used by Kaivo or Aalto now?

Thu, Feb 12, 2015, 13:08

FR: Kaivo/Aalto - dry/wet crossfade

Just been playing with Kaivo, having some fun with creating some new patches for the soundplane.

one thing I've noticed, is often I would like to modulate (often with Y) the balance between dry/wet between the stages.
I know there is little room for additional modulators, but I wonder, perhaps rather than a modulator for dry and wet, we could just have one (on the 'line') that did a crossfade from dry to wet, so when connected to Y I could have some influence on how much of the body or resonator gets thru at each stage.

Wed, Feb 11, 2015, 13:18

ok, Im getting a bit more in to Reaktor so Ive updated this Macro :)

as I mentioned, the issue is Reaktor does not keep the OSC messages in order... (its a known bug in Reaktor). This would cause 'stuck notes' with the previous macro.

In this newer version, I look for frame messages, and if I receive a frame, but no touches then I know the note is 'off' (as touches are continuous, so if your not receiving a tch its because its no longer active)
Ive played with it a bit, and seems to be working fine.

here it is Reakor t3d it contains the macro, and again the 2 demo ensembles from Mark Smart, converterd to use it.

Tue, Feb 10, 2015, 14:15

I'm always playing with 1.2, it so tempting as the 1.2 code is much more responsive :)
( the zone thing is a small issue introduced by changes in underlying ML lib they are usually pretty simple to fix if your a programmer)

Thu, Feb 05, 2015, 10:11

a thought, if I setup 2 different midi controllers to talk to any VST (via midi), I fully appreciate that sending the same note/cc from both controllers will possibly lead to oddities. so perhaps to some extent, this is 'the users problem' :)

saying that, aalto/kaivo (osc), and some other VSTs (e.g. u-he in poly mode) already seem to handle this situation, as I can send in the same note twice already from my eigenharp/soundplane due to duplicate notes on the surfaces, and the note plays twice.
(can be nice if they are not sync'd :))

anyway, sure post 1.6... which Im hoping will bring me multi instances, which will cover me for this purposes for the time being (albeit a bit cpu intensive).

is aalto getting more voice in 1.6 ... I could do with ~6, and I think my CPUs can cope :)

Wed, Feb 04, 2015, 13:12

Question, which unfortunately I think is related :(
how can I change presets when OSC is active?
Im assuming if your not listening to midi then I cannot sent a program change?
or have i missed something obvious?

Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 07:38

Is there any news on it?

Last I heard, is that at NAMM 2015 the MMA had their annual HD meeting, but they have had held this every year for 10 years. I suspect its going to be quite awhile before they release the specs yet, and even then sometime before hardware and software supports.

One thing that could be done in the current Soundplane software is to support 14 bit midi CC, in the same way as the Continuum/Eigenharps do. Id be willing to add this to the source, once you are in a position to accept 3rd party changes to the software. (I don't need myself as i use OSC)

ref : midi hd news

Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 09:31

Soundplane : quantize

what is the algo for the quantise function in the SP app?

background: Ive two modes in EigenD for using the SP, one is using the frequency determined by the SP app, the other is to use the SP as a continuous surface where the layout is defined in EigenD.

(layout functionality already existed in EigenD so makes sense to support, as its dynamically configurable)

so in this latter mode, Id like to have a similar 'quantise' note function. this is easy enough, to have on 'touch on', as it just sets 'roll' to zero.

but I wondering, how does the SP decide when to 'kill' this quantisation.

tch1, your off by 0.25 semi tone, so zero out the roll/pb

BUT you will very soon (@DR time) get another tch1, which will show you are off by (say) 0.2502, you didnt move, but sensors are accurate... but at this stage, you want to remain quantised (id say)...

does the quantisation stop when you start sliding? or when you leave that cell?
or when quantising do you always use key centres, and use portamento, when sliding from note to note?

also is vibrato, measured as an offset to the original touch position (i.e. un-quantised)

Im asking, to make my stuff consistent, but Im also interested so I know how the SP app works.

(I know where its doing it in the SP code base (touchtracker), but its taking a bit of time to trace it, as my dev version of the SP codebase is no longer working.)

thanks for any pointers

Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 13:43

cool, totally clear now :-) thanks

Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 06:24

really? have you got a reference, Id be interested...

afaik, the following is possible:

soundplane can output T3D OSC messages (real time), which can be used by Aalto and Kyma. so Kyma understands T3D.

But Ive not heard it can generate T3d, but it possibly can, it certainly can output OSC, so I suspect it could be coded to output the t3d protocol

there are some tools to record OSC to files, and replay them, so this might work with Aalto. (a bit like recording/playing back midi)

I don't think, you could save any sounds/patches from kyma... the closest would be to export them, and import them in to Kaivo (rather than Aalto)

but I could be wrong, and would be interested to hear, as Im often tempted by Kyma :)

Wed, Jan 14, 2015, 15:46

Sustain pedal - hanging notes

Ive been trying to use Aalto and Kaivo with a sustain pedal (CC 64) and I'm having issues with notes sometimes being stuck on.
It seems to be worst if you go over the voice count, but it also happens sometimes when this is not the case.

Ive put a midi monitor in front of Kaivo/Aalto and I can clearly see CC 64 = 0 is being sent to it.

(its very easy to reproduce as it happens pretty frequently)

related, Id really like to be able to hold sustain when using the soundplane over OSC,
how could this be achieved?


Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 14:14

Vibrato instability in Max


ok, this is a bit of a weird one :)
Im using my soundplane with my Virus TI.

all works ok, except the sending of CCs was causing issues, as these CCs are used by the TI for other purposes. So I decided to use M4L to filter them out.

when I did this, I started getting instability in the note pitch (a constant rapid vibrato)

when I slide to a new note, I noticed this instability was not there, and found a pattern (U=unstable, S=stable)


(regardless of starting note, bend range etc... and its hardly affected by lowering the data rate)

odd, so starting on a C instability, slide to D stable. but then start on D its unstable, and you an slide back to C and its stable. (i.e. its the pitchbend values)

Initially I assumed it was the virus, but then noticed, if I don't have the Max device, it was absolutely fine.

so i tried in Max directly, if I send midi data directly thru, no issue, but if pitchbends are 'parsed' eg. midiin to midiparse to midiformat to midiout, the data gets 'garbled'

ok, so I thought, its a max issue...
so plugged in my Eigenharp, no issue at all (its every bit as sensitive, and if anything has faster data rates)

So, it 'appears' (I did say it was odd :o) ) to be some combination of the soundplane software + max,
my only 'guess' (having looked at the midi data), is that the soundplane software seems to be 'beating' between a few values even when your finger is still, and I wonder if this rapid changes is causing issues in max. (Perhaps EigenD smooths it, Id need to check the code)

But I kind of thought thats what vibrato would do, kind of smooth out the data a bit?
(my usual settings are 0.5, bend range +/-24)